Let’s start with Mike Leach’s comments from his October 1 press conference.
"“There’s nothing balanced about 50 percent run and 50 percent pass, cause that’s 50 percent stupid. What is balanced is when you have five skill positions, if all five of them are contributing to the offensive effort in a somewhat equal fashion.”"
The Cougars threw 51 times as opposed to only 24 rushing attempts. Keeping to the Leach philosophy, eight players had multiple touches and four different players found the end zone. Quarterback Gardner Minshew threw the ball all over the field. What made things interesting, there wasn’t a consistent main target. Anyone with a dark jersey and eligible number was fair game.
So why did WSU run the ball so often against Oregon? The answer is close to the same reason as to why men climb mountains. Wazzu ran on Oregon because the opportunities were there to run. UO didn’t stack the box, because the Cougars formations were spread out and the defense couldn’t allow one of the WSU receivers to be left uncovered. Washington State’s offensive linemen handled their one on one blocking assignments so James Williams and Max Borghi had nice holes to run through.
While America was introduced to the Air Raid and its leader Gardner Minshew, running back James Williams also put on a show. His 24-yard touchdown run to open up the scoring was an eye-opener. Williams reversed field going from his left to his right along the line of scrimmage, got to the outside and took off to the house. In the process, he beat eight Ducks defenders.
For the game, the Washington State running back had nine carries for 53 yards. Williams added seven receptions for 42 yards. His speed, ability to find the hole and pass-catching prowess should earn him a spot on an NFL roster one day.